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Date: Oct 1, 2019

Grants Provide Support for Cultural Institutions in the County

Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) announced that the application process for the FY2021 Baltimore County Arts, Sciences and Humanities Operating Grants is now open through Wednesday, October 23, at 4 p.m.

These competitive, general operating grants are available to nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area that serve Baltimore County residents in the fields of arts, sciences and humanities. In previous years, Baltimore County Government has made over $3 million available to help recognize the importance of arts and culture to the quality of life in Baltimore County.

“These grants, and our efforts to increase the number of applicants, provide important funding to help organizations realize their missions and connect our residents with arts and cultural opportunities here in Baltimore County and throughout the region,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

“These grants will help organizations bring more quality arts and culture experiences for our residents,” said Will Anderson, Director of DEWD. “This goes right along with County Executive Olszewski’s vision to help further promote tourism initiatives in Baltimore County.”

Arts organizations have a serious economic impact in Baltimore County. Over 1,700 arts-related businesses already exist across Baltimore County, employing 7,000 people. So, while we enjoy the quality of life impacts of these creative industries, we need to remember the financial benefits they bring as well.

Application and Guidelines Information Sessions

Two information sessions will be held regarding the operating grant application and guidelines. It is advised if you have not applied for a Baltimore County Arts and Sciences Operating Grant that your organization send a representative to an information session.

First Information Session
Tuesday, October 1, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
North Point Library
1716 Merritt Boulevard
Dundalk, Maryland 21222

Second Information Session
Thursday, October 3, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Pikesville Library
1301 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, Maryland 21208

Baltimore County grants support regional nonprofits, including a robust County arts community. County organizations receiving support include the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, Towson Arts Collective, Baltimore County Arts Guild and Contemporary Arts Jazz. In addition, the County supports institutions located in the region such as Everyman Theater, the American Visionary Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Industry, which are central to the region’s quality of life.

Find more information about eligibility and the grant application.

About DEWD

DEWD provides business and workforce services that attract, retain and expand businesses; foster the creation of high quality jobs; prepare and train residents for in-demand careers; bring employers together with the qualified talent and expands Baltimore County’s economic base. Learn more about DEWD.

Sean Naron Joining Leadership Team as Press Secretary

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that Sean Naron will be joining his leadership team as press secretary. He succeeds T.J. Smith, who will be departing the executive’s office to explore other opportunities.

Naron most recently served as press secretary to Dr. Leana Wen at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A Baltimore County native and graduate of Dulaney High School, Naron previously worked as communications director for Olszewski’s campaign for county executive, communications director for Kevin Kamenetz’s campaign for governor, and as deputy press secretary to former Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. He will serve as the office’s primary point of contact for media.

“Sean is a dedicated, hard-working, and energetic communicator with years of experience working with journalists to ensure the public has access to the critical information they deserve,” Olszewski said. “I’m thrilled to have him return to our team as we continue implementing our vision for a better Baltimore County.”

Smith has served in the role of press secretary since January 2019, shortly after Olszewski was sworn into office. He will depart the county executive’s office on Friday, October 4.

“T.J. has been a valued advisor and a critical team member as we began our work in Baltimore County. I’m grateful for his hard work and his thoughtful approach to the job of press secretary,” Olszewski said. 

Senior Center Programming Being Increased to Meet Rising Membership Needs

The Baltimore County Department of Aging is pleased to announce its plans to increase programming within its Division of Senior Centers and Community Services to meet the rising membership and community needs.

“The new County administration led by County Executive John A. Olszewski, Jr. understands the increased need in the community and committed the funds necessary to expand services for our older adult population,” stated Department of Aging Director Laura Riley. She further added, “We are fortunate to have leadership that appreciates the importance of having equitable opportunities for socialization and wellness activities for older adults everywhere across the county.”

The Need for Increased Programming

The need for the increased programming became apparent when all members of Baltimore County’s 20 senior centers were asked to complete an Adult Well-Being Assessment to assess their perceived quality of life. The Adult Well-Being Assessment tool (AWA) was developed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) as part of the 100Million Healthier Lives Project, a global community of change makers across hundreds of communities who are transforming the way we think and act to improve health, well-being, and equity. Baltimore County was proud to be the first county in the country partnering with NCOA to use the AWA to assess the impact of senior centers on older adults’ quality of life.

“The outcome of this assessment demonstrated the impact of fewer hours of fitness and educational programming being provided at the Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands and Fleming Senior Centers.  Members at both senior centers scored lower on key quality of life measures compared to members at other centers,” explained Jill Hall, Chief of the Senior Center and Community Services Division. “The Department of Aging is anxious to build the classes and opportunities at both of these centers to enhance the lives of our membership, and these communities as a whole.”

The Changes

Thus, there will be a change in the hours of operation for two of its twenty senior centers: Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands Senior Center and Fleming Senior Center. New hours for Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. beginning October 7 and for Fleming will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning October 15. Returning to full time hours will allow staff the opportunity to schedule more programs that will address some of the health and financial issues facing older adults, including programming related to job training, opioid awareness, health screenings, diabetes prevention, exercise, nutrition, grandparents raising grandchildren, caregiving and intergenerational programming.  Programming will be a collaboration with other County agencies and partners in these communities.

This announcement has been met with great anticipation and excitement by the two locations as members from both senior centers have been lobbying for expanded hours since they were decreased in 2013 for fiscal reasons. During this time, membership has continued to grow in each site. For example, Fleming had an annual average attendance of 5,600 in 2013 and now has an attendance of over 18,000 visits a year. Similarly, Lansdowne’s participation has increased by six percent over the last year.

Related to the plan to reinstate hours, the county recognizes the importance of engaging more residents in programs and activities during the day to help build more sustainable communities. Three target areas where there is limited daytime adult programming were identified  to pilot lowering the age of senior center registration to individuals age 50 plus.  The three sites are: Fleming, Hereford and Lansdowne-Baltimore Highlands.

About Baltimore County Senior Centers

Senior centers offer an accessible, and welcoming location to attract individuals age 50 to 59 so they can participate in educational, vocational, social, nutritional  and health related  programming which will improve their overall wellness, as well as that of their communities. This new policy will allow individuals 50 to 59 years of age to now join the 60 and over members at the three pilot locations effective October 1, 2019. October 1 is the beginning of the senior center registration period so the data to assess impact and outcomes would be in line with established reporting periods.

Similar to membership requirements for those 60 and older, there will be no membership fee for the 50 to 59 year old members. However, in some cases (such as for Eating Together meals and evidence-based programming) the younger members will be required to pay the full cost of the meal or program while the 60 and older members would continue to be asked for an anonymous donation per federal funding requirements of the Older Americans Act. The 50 to 59 year old members would only be allowed to participate at the center which they have joined during the pilot period. Also, only individuals 50 and older would be allowed to join. If they have a younger spouse this benefit would not be available to the spouse.

For further details on activities, you may visit the senior center page of the Baltimore County Department of Aging’s webpage.

Revised September 11, 2017